3 Is there any advantage in being a Jew? Is there any value in being circumcised? 2 There is great value in every way! First of all, the Jews have been given the very words of God. 3 What if some Jews did not believe? Will the fact that they don’t have faith keep God from being faithful? 4 Not at all! God is true, even though every human being is a liar. It is written, “You are right when you sentence me. You are fair when you judge me.” (Psalm 51:4) 5 Doesn’t the fact that we are wrong prove more clearly that God is right? Then what can we say? Can we say that God is not fair when he brings his anger down on us? As you can tell, I am just using human ways of thinking. 6 God is certainly fair! If he weren’t, how could he judge the world? 7 Someone might argue, “When I lie, it becomes clearer that God is truthful. It makes his glory shine more brightly. Why then does he find me guilty of sin?” 8 Why not say, “Let’s do evil things so that good things will happen”? Some people actually lie by reporting that this is what we say. They are the ones who should be found guilty. No One Is Right With God 9 What should we say then? Are we Jews any better? Not at all! We have already claimed that Jews are sinners. The same is true of those who aren’t Jews. 10 It is written, “No one is right with God, no one at all. 11 No one understands. No one trusts in God. 12 All of them have turned away. They have all become worthless. No one does anything good, no one at all.” (Psalms 14:1–3; 53:1–3; Ecclesiastes 7:20) 13 “Their throats are like open graves. With their tongues they tell lies.” (Psalm 5:9) “The words from their lips are like the poison of a snake.” (Psalm 140:3) 14 “Their mouths are full of curses and bitterness.” (Psalm 10:7) 15 “They run quickly to commit murder. 16 They leave a trail of failure and pain. 17 They do not know the way of peace.” (Isaiah 59:7,8) 18 “They don’t have any respect for God.” (Psalm 36:1) 19 What the law says, it says to those who are ruled by the law. Its purpose is to shut every mouth and make the whole world accountable to God. 20 So it can’t be said that anyone will be made right with God by obeying the law. Not at all! The law makes us more aware of our sin.
Paul addresses the notion that some people are tempted to feel they are better than others -that their good behaviour justifies them or makes them a better person. But it's clearly stated here that there is no one who is righteous – not one.
As someone who has been a Christian for quite some time now, it's good to be reminded that all of us have the same sinful nature. By grace of God I've been cleaned up and made to look pretty good, but without His grace every one of us (including me) would be out rolling in the pigpen of sin.
I am filled today with gratitude for the life I have because of the grace of God. May I remain ever humbled by what I would have been without Jesus.
Written by Shelley Witt